FeedDemon by Subscription?

UPDATE: Based on your comments about this post, we’ve changed our mind.

Shortly after I was acquired by NewsGator, customers started asking whether FeedDemon would switch to a subscription model. At the time we were still ironing out the details, but we’ve decided now: FeedDemon (but not TopStyle) will become subscription-based software.

The rational behind moving to a subscription model can be found in this post from Greg Reinacker, which explains how the subscription model actually works out cheaper (especially for existing FeedDemon customers, who get two years of free upgrades). However, “subscription-based software” is a phrase that causes some people to recoil in horror, so I’m curious how FeedDemon users will react to the news.

My own reaction when the idea was first proposed was, “No way!” The subscription model never appealed to me because of ownership – I own the data that my software uses, and I don’t want to be locked out of it. So let me clarify that this will not be the case with FeedDemon. If down the road you let your subscription expire, you’ll still be able to export your channels, watches and news bins from FeedDemon. That’s your data, so you won’t be locked out of it.

That was my only real roadblock to accepting the subscription model – once I realized that “subscription” doesn’t equal “loss of ownership,” I was fine with the idea. And for a company like NewsGator, which offers several products that tie into the same server-side piece, a subscription model actually makes sense. You’re paying for a service, and that service includes several software options so you can choose how you’d like to access the service. Fair enough, IMO.

But I realize that you may have other concerns about this move, and I’d like to hear about them. What is your reaction to a subscription-based FeedDemon, and what can we do to address any of your concerns?

PS: For some reason, this is one of those topics that brings out the flamers and trolls, so I have to ask that you be thoughtful and respectful when commenting here. Thanks!

107 thoughts on “FeedDemon by Subscription?

  1. Scott – it would still be breaking the promise. There is supposed to be a small charge for updates and then mini-updates free. Unless I have the wrong perception, if I upgrade to the next version (whether it is free or not) the terms have changed from a small charge to a subscription – meaning the software will not work when the subscription ends.
    I thought the deal was to upgrade my software not change it into a completely rented software.
    See the key point is: for those that offer subscription software customers don’t buy it first. They subscribe to it from the beginning and it’s clear they never really own it.
    As a business move I think it’s kind of irresponsible for this not to have been worked out before the merger. Thankfully its not a lot of money involved but it’s the principle of the thing.

  2. Basic premise: I pay for it, I own it, I use it.
    Not quite so. Every pay for software out there states on their fine print that what you’ve paid for is the right to use it. Right that can be withdrawn by the software maker. In other words, you are leasing the software. Granted, it is a lease that can be for live…

  3. If upcoming subscription model will work like other similar programs, such as Stardock, Kerio, etc, where you keep the program after your subscription runs out, minus upgrades to latest and greates and you can resubscribe later, if you think upgrade worth the money, then I’m looking forward to new FD.
    If you absolutely must have NewGator account to run FD and it’s locked down to it, then there’re always will be alternatives.

  4. David C (above) said:
    “Every pay for software out there states on their fine print that what you’ve paid for is the right to use it. Right that can be withdrawn by the software maker. In other words, you are leasing the software.”
    I have yet (after 15+ years using software) to hear of a single case in which a software company has revoked the right to use its “purchased” software: Adobe, Macromedia, Microsoft, etc. are too smart to do such a thing–their customers would go nuts. [It may have happened, but you’ve got more chance of being struck by an errant asteroid.]
    While technically accurate, your point doesn’t seem to me to represent real life experience as we know it…it’s well intentioned, and maybe you are personally okay with the subscription model, BUT “regular” people-like relatives-who buy software (as well as techies who know the small print) expect that “when they buy it, they own it.” And owning it means that “it will continue to work.”
    And when you think about it, unless a software application “phones home” periodically, it’s not even necessarily possible for a company to make contact with every customer in the future to get them to stop using it. If it did, we’d call it spyware…
    People here who are responding to Nick’s post seem to me to be expressing their disapproval of being roped into a business model that involves subscribing to software that will someday “time out” unless a fee is paid when that “someday” rolls around–I for one think that’s VERY different from present-day software licensing small print.

  5. Just one further thought: what happens, if in the “far future” NewsGator is no more? Following the lines it is logical to say that, if FD can’t connect to NG anymore, it won’t activate, even with the subscription just been renewed … :O

  6. I really dislike the subscription model. It is always a way of making you buy things you do not want. If you subscribe to a (print) magazine you are buying the poor issues as well as the good ones and provided the magazine does not do too many poor issues in a row it does not matter if they get it wrong, the revenue still rolls in.
    I like FD but I only plan to pay for it once. If an upgrade came out with something I needed I might pay twice but subscription so that I can access NewsGator “features” I neither need nor want? – no way.

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